Canadian Rockies Winter Adventure
|Resort:||Canadian Rockies Winter Adventure|
Winter in the Canadian Rockies will fulfil all your snow-covered fantasies. Go on snowshoe hikes through ancient spruce forests and rugged mountains, try your hand at cross-country skiing, skate on a frozen lake in Invermere and go on unforgettable ice walks past towering frozen waterfalls (and possibly a few daredevil ice-climbers) at Grotto and Johnston Canyon. This trip takes you to must-see attractions, as well as off the beaten path in the Rockies. Youll have the chance to travel the world-famous Icefields Parkway and hike the Athabasca Glacier, and also soak in a natural hot spring amongst stunning winter scenery in the Columbia Valley. Learn a thing or two about curling and hockey two proudly Canadian sports from the pros in Canmore, and dine on hearty Canadian favourites in a cosy log cabin in Lake Louise. This action-packed trip is winter in the Rockies at its best, packed with Canadiana.
Day 1 Canmore
Make your own way to Canmore, a charming mountain town nestled in the Canadian Rockies. There are no airports in Canmore, though we suggest flying to Calgary as a number of companies offer frequent shuttles between the two cities (departing Calgary from either Calgary International Airport or major hotels in the downtown area). Your winter adventure officially begins at your Canmore hotel with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Following the meeting, theres an optional group dinner at a local restaurant where youll have to chance to get to know your tour leader and new travel buddies. Otherwise, the evening is yours to enjoy.
Day 2 Canmore
Tick the first item off your winter activity bucket list today as you head to Kananaskis Country for a day of snowshoeing. Its about a 1.5 hour drive to Fortress Mountain, the filming site of several Hollywood blockbusters (such as The Revenant and The Bourne Legacy), and the location of your guided treeline snowshoe adventure. Spend about 4-5 hours taking in outstanding mountain views as you trek through quintessential winter landscapes. Remember to dress accordingly and wear warm (preferably waterproof) boots, a proper winter jacket, hat and gloves. Then return to Canmore for a free evening. A warming cup of hot chocolate from one of the many cafes is a great place to start.
Day 3 Canmore
This morning, youll have the opportunity to experience a different kind of winter landscape as you embark on an ice-walk through Grotto Canyon. See daredevil ice climbers scaling frozen waterfalls, ancient native pictographs and unusual icy rock formations as you explore the frozen creek bed floor wearing special hiking crampons strapped onto your boots for grip with a local guide. Return to Canmore for lunch (not included), then trade in your ice cleats for ice skates for a lesson at the Canmore Hockey Club. Experts will show you the ropes and explain what you need to know to be a professional hockey player. Youll have the chance don proper hockey gear and practice your new skills on the ice.
Day 4 Canmore
In the morning, head to the Canmore Curling Club for an introduction to another adventure on ice curling. Discover a thing or two about curling rocks and sweeping techniques, then enjoy a free afternoon. There are plenty of winter activities to keep you occupied. Today is one of two opportunities you’ll have on this trip to go dog sledding, cutting through the snow like an explorer of old. Intrepid’s commitment to animal welfare means we have chosen companies that adhere to strict ethical guidelines and can prove the humane treatment of the working dogs. Those who like to cycle might want to hire a fat bike; outfitted with extra-wide tires (for traction on snow-covered trails), hand warmers and modified frames, fat bikes are bicycles tailored for winter conditions. There are plenty of scenic trails of varying difficulty, like the Bow River Loop or Horseshoe Loop, worth exploring. Alternatively, Canmores snow-covered trees, majestic mountains and occasional animal tracks provide the perfect backdrop for cross-country skiing.
Day 5 Banff / Invermere, Columbia Valley
After breakfast, take a short 30-minute drive to Banff, where youll have free time to stroll the main avenue and its artisan shops, boutiques and art galleries. You might want to use this opportunity to shop for souvenirs. Though this main drag is undeniably touristy, the ever-present sight of the mountains looming overhead more than make up for it. After lunch, continue west to Canadas main continental divide (a natural boundary of elevated terrain that separates the drainage basins of the country). This geological phenomenon also happens to separate two provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) and two national parks (Banff and Kootenay). Explore the pristine wilderness of this area on a guided snowshoe hike through ancient forests and lakes. Then continue on to Invermere on the Lake, a pretty lakeside town in the beautiful Columbia Valley.
Day 6 Invermere, Columbia Valley
Today is a leisurely day in the Columbia Valley. Start the day skating in the great outdoors along frozen Lake Windermere. Measuring nearly 30 kilometres/18 miles long, Lake Windermere has the distinction of being the worlds longs ice skating trail. Later on, warm up at the Radium Hot Springs. Located in Kootenay National Park, spend time soaking in mineral-rich hot springs surrounded by snow-covered forest for the ultimate in Canadian winter relaxation.
Day 7 Invermere, Columbia Valley
After yesterdays afternoon of rest and relaxation, head to the Selkirk Mountains for another active day. Let your leader show you around on a guided snowshoe hike at the Panorama Resort, hire a fat bike and explore the region at your own pace, strap on some skis for some cross-country skiing, or if youre after a bit more speed, why not hire a snowmobile. There are no shortage of ways to get active and explore the winter wilderness. After your day in the mountains, head back to Invermere and find a comfy pub for some apres ski festivities.
Day 8 Banff National Park / Lake Louise
Journey back to Banff National Park (about 2 hours), arriving just in time for an all-Canadian lunch at the Storm Mountain Lodge. Dine on meats from Alberta, cheese from Quebec and fish from B.C. in a rustic log cabin while an entirely Canadian playlist croons in the background. Theres even a fireplace and books from Canadian authors if youd like to brush up on your literature. After lunch, visit Johnston Canyon for an afternoon ice walk. A network of steel catwalks are built into the canyon wall, allowing you to walk right along this cathedral of ice. Youll see staggering pillars of blue ice and frozen waterfalls towering 30 metres/98 feet above your head. The sheer magnitude of the ice both above and below you will leave you in awe.
Day 9 Lake Louise
Today marks your last day in the glorious Canadian Rockies. You have the choice of joining your tour leader on a drive along the world-famous Icefields Parkway to see for yourself why this stretch of road connecting Lake Louise to Jasper is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world. After travelling through soaring mountain peaks, ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls and sweeping valleys filled with pine and larch, youll stop for what is bound to be a trip highlight a hike to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. Alternatively, you can choose to have a free day in Lake Louise for one last fix of winter activities. Ask your tour leader about where you can go for some dog sledding, skating, cross-country skiing or a sleigh ride. Regardless of what you choose, meet up with your tour leader and fellow travellers again in evening for an included farewell dinner at the Station Restaurant. Located in a heritage railway station, serving hearty Canadian favourites, its bound to be a memorable final meal.
Day 10 Calgary
Journey to Calgary where your Canadian winter adventure comes to an end. Travelers can be transported to Calgary Airport or Downtown depending on their plans.